27 Dec Drying Out
As we begin to settle into our wet and chilly winter, we Portlanders could benefit from taking a page from the Finnish national tradition of saunas. The sauna dates back as early as the 5th century and were originally considered to be spaces. The first Finnish saunas were often dug into a hill or embankment and usually near lakes. The advancements of tools and technology brought about the more modern wooden structures. Rocks were usually heated in a wood fire, smoke filled the room warming the air and once the desired temperature was reached, the smoke was released and bathers entered the structure.
Today there are a wide variety of sauna options and heat sources. The Dragontree locker rooms are equipped with dry Finnish saunas. The sauna is an enclosed room made of cedar equipped with benches you can either sit or lay down on. Special rocks are heated in an enclosed heater and water can be poured over them to regulate the amount of moisture in the air. Dry saunas usually keep humidity at about 20% and on average range from about 150-180 degrees.
Steam will help release toxins and potentially harmful viruses from the lungs, but for those with problems breathing, a steam sauna may not be the best option. However, for the vast majority of people, there are many health benefits to regular sauna session including weight control, pain reduction, increased immune system response, lowering blood pressure and improved skin conditions. Other benefits include stress reduction, decreased fatigue and better sleep and overall relaxation.
There are several ways you can take advantage of The Dragontree’s saunas, some treatments include a complimentary session, it can added to other services for a small charge or come in to use the sauna only. The cold, damp weather can really chill me to my bones and for me there’s nothing like stepping in a warm sauna to alleviate the winter blues.
– Toni Stolze, Spa Director NW Thurman